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Tuesday, 14 August, 2001, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
Final bid to save Beazley
Napoleon Beazley's father prays for his son
Napoleon Beazley's father prays for his son
By Jonny Dymond in Washington

Lawyers for Napoleon Beazley, who is due to be executed in the United States on Wednesday, are pursuing the last avenues of appeal.

Both the US Supreme Court and the parole board of the State of Texas have turned down applications for a stay of execution.

Beazley's sentence has drawn criticism from around the world because he was only 17 years old when he committed the crime which landed him on Death Row.

Now 25, he is due to die by lethal injection.

Texan justice

Community prays for Beazely
Vigil is held for Beazely
Beazley shot and killed a complete stranger while trying to steal his car from his driveway; he and his friends also shot the man's wife and drove over her whilst making their escape.

Although he was only 17 at the time, the crime was committed in the state of Texas, one of 23 states in the US which allow the executions of those who committed murders when they were under 18.

There are 73 such prisoners awaiting execution in America's prisons.

Seventeen of them have been executed since 1973.

Condemnation of the practice from foreign governments and human-rights groups has not swayed lawmakers, and Napoleon Beazley's lawyers are running out of options.

Last hope

On Monday the Supreme Court was split evenly over whether a stay of execution should be granted - three of the nine justices excused themselves from the decision because of links with the victims' son.

A stay cannot go foward if the vote is tied.

Napoleon Beazley's last hope is for a 30-day delay from the governor of Texas, Rick Perry.

That delay would allow a further appeal to the Supreme Court to proceed.

See also:

26 May 00 | Americas
When children kill
27 Jul 01 | Americas
US's hard line against youth crime
27 Jul 01 | Americas
US classroom killer jailed
12 Jun 00 | Americas
Most US death sentences 'flawed'
04 Jun 01 | Americas
US court overturns death sentence
11 Jun 01 | Americas
Death penalty worldwide
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